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Action, intrigue, and danger are all part of the James Bond franchise, and these are important hallmarks for audiences looking to escape the current realities of the COVID-19 pandemic from the safety of their own home. However, Bond can only do so much, and depending on when you’re reading this listing, you may not have his exploits available for viewing on your favorite streaming platform.
That’s not a problem though, as there’s plenty of movies that have that 007 style, or something extremely close to it, on the streams. So if you’re looking for something to watch in preparation for, or as a rest from all the James Bond action you could ever handle, you’ve come to the right list of titles. Here are 13 assignments you should consider streaming, if you're a fan of the Bond canon of films, but would like a similarly flavored change of pace.
Mission: Impossible - Fallout (Hulu/ Prime Video)
What The Movie Is About: Stop us if you’ve heard this one: three nuclear weapons have gone missing, and a band of secret agents need to retrieve those weapons before they’re used to trigger all out chaos. Mission: Impossible – Fallout brings Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and the rest of his IMF team back for their sixth adventure in the name of world peace, with quite possibly their biggest mission yet.
Why Fans Of James Bond Would Like It: If there was ever a series that made for a perfect American analog for the James Bond series of films, it has to be the Mission: Impossible series. Taking the globe-trotting adventure and charismatic central agent against the world formulas that 007 has been known to use, this franchise spreads the love throughout a team of agents that assist Ethan in his rogue agent tactics. Not to mention, Tom Cruise’s stunt work is impeccable, pushing the action packed envelope further with each outing in the series.
The Austin Powers Trilogy (Netflix)
What The Movie Is About: Picture this: what if the world’s greatest secret agent (Mike Myers) volunteered to have himself frozen, in the name of fighting his arch-nemesis, who was also cryogenically preserved for the future? The Austin Powers series starts out with this plot device, as both Austin and Dr. Evil freeze themselves in the ‘60s to do battle once again in the ‘90s. But as the series goes on, time travel, mojo theft, and other hysterical points of conflict come into play to make things all the more exciting.
Why Fans Of James Bond Would Like It: As a fan of both the comedies of Peter Sellers and the James Bond series of films, Mike Myers created all three Austin Powers movies as love letters to both. With Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery in particular roasting the traditional James Bond tropes to full effect, seeing Myers and director Jay Roach play around with the conventions of a Bond flick is a sharp and entertaining break from the norm.
Where To Stream: All three Austin Powers films are currently available on Netflix (opens in new tab).
What The Movie Is About: Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a thief with one of the weirdest, most valuable skills in the world: he can sneak into people’s dreams, and shape them as he sees fit. Usually, he uses these traits to steal information, but when a shadowy party (Ken Watanabe) hires Dom and his team for the job of a lifetime, he just might find the thing he’s been looking for the most: a way home.
Why Fans Of James Bond Would Like It: Inception has widely been considered the best prototype for what a Christopher Nolan James Bond movie would feel like in the first place. Even the forthcoming release Tenet has that sort of look and feel, which might strike up the band looking to see Christopher Nolan finally get his chance to direct a new and exciting James Bond adventure. If you like both the far flung adventures of the Roger Moore era, but the hard hitting emotional action of the Daniel Craig run, Inception is the mixture of those two worlds.
Where To Stream: Inception is available on Netflix (opens in new tab).
The Thomas Crown Affair (HBOGo)
What The Movie Is About: Obsessed with the thrill of theft, millionaire Thomas Crown (Pierce Brosnan) steals a priceless painting right off the wall of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It feels like the perfect crime, until a ruthless insurance investigator (Rene Russo) starts to pick up on his trail. As the two dance around each other’s motives, a romance starts to form; one that could either bring them together or tear them apart.
Why Fans Of James Bond Would Like It: First and foremost, former James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan happened to make this film around the same time he was wearing 007’s tuxedo for MGM. But instead of just copy/pasting his Bond style charms, Brosnan really gets to play up the witty and sly part of his personality, as opposed to shooting his way through the room. His pairing with Rene Russo makes The Thomas Crown Affair a funny, sexy spin on romance and intrigue. If people are going to prepare for a Michael B. Jordan led remake, this is a good place to start.
Where To Stream: The Thomas Crown Affair is available on HBOGo.
The Fugitive (Hulu)
What The Movie Is About: Dr. Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) has been convicted of the murder of his wife (Sela Ward). The strange thing is… he may not have done it. After a freak accident leaves Dr. Kimble a chance to escape, he sets off on investigating the crime he’s supposedly committed. All the while, a determined U.S. Marshall (Tommy Lee Jones) is closing in on his trail, in an effort to apprehend him in the name of the law.
Why Fans Of James Bond Would Like It: Some of the best James Bond movies feature 007’s investigative skills, usually on display as he’s unraveling a hideous conspiracy of epic proportions. If you scale down the scope of The Fugitive’s conspiracy, and put a man who’s not used to sleuthing around at the heart of that mystery, you’ve got a story that invokes Bond’s best qualities in an unpredictable setting. Not to mention, this is the opportunity for you to see what a Harrison Ford style Bond adventure would look like.
Where To Stream: The Fugitive is currently available on Hulu. (opens in new tab)
The Saint (Netflix / Crackle)
What The Movie Is About: A brilliant electrochemist (Elizabeth Shue) has made a gigantic breakthrough in clean energy, leaving a power hungry oil tycoon (Rade Šerbedžija) desperate enough to try and steal the formula for himself. Enter Simon Templar (Val Kilmer), a cunning thief who starts this job as a pure professional, but ends up switching sides when he both falls for his target, and discovers the true nature of his shady employer.
Why Fans Of James Bond Would Like It: In a fun sort of coincidence, the James Bond series happened to cast one of its leads thanks to the TV incarnation of The Saint. Much as Roger Moore got to play 007 thanks to the role of Simon Templar, Val Kilmer’s incarnation of the role is a very Bond-esque character. Mix the tortured past and investigative skills of Bond with the disguises of Ethan Hunt, and The Saint makes for another example of a film nailing down the formula Daniel Craig would eventually run with through his tenure.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Netflix)
What The Movie Is About: A job gone wrong leads to the near death of one of England’s best secret operatives (Mark Strong). The latest in a pattern of events that suggests a mole is hidden at the top of the clandestine services, it’s up to retired spy George Smiley (Gary Oldman) to smoke out the parties selling state secrets during the Cold War. Told through a series of flashbacks and present day investigation, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is gripping right until the surprising, shocking finale.
Why Fans Of James Bond Would Like It: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, much like James Bond, is a quintessentially British spy story. However, instead of flashy suits, fast cars, and trips to exotic locales, this film based on the novel by John le Carré shows the spy game in a more dour, realistic light. With a cast stacked with talents like Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Toby Jones, among others, this potboiler is a perfect contrast to spy aficionados who want a change of pace from the James Bond movies.
Where To Stream: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is available on Netflix (opens in new tab).
The Peacemaker (Netflix)
What The Movie Is About: After a nuclear warhead is detonated in the Russian countryside, the seemingly random event attracts the attention of a nuclear specialist (Nicole Kidman) and a hot shot Army officer (George Clooney). Following their mutual hunch, The Peacemaker sees our leads fighting their way to the truth in city and desert alike, in an effort to prevent another, greater nuclear catastrophe from happening.
Why Fans Of James Bond Would Like It: The Peacemaker isn’t as flashy or as grim as some of the other James Bond adjacent films we’ve suggested. However, the geopolitical thriller aspect of director Mimi Leder’s blockbuster definitely helps to scratch the itch Bond fans may have without No Time To Die hitting theaters in the next month. Clooney’s charm and Kidman’s cunning make for a duo that embody the best of Bond, in an adventure that pushes them both to the limit.
Where To Stream: The Peacemaker is available on Netflix (opens in new tab).
No Way Out (Tubi / Vudu)
What The Movie Is About: Lt. Tom Farrell (Kevin Costner) is a Navy officer whose star is on the rise. With the Secretary of Defense (Gene Hackman) hot to hire him as one of his most trusted intelligence officers, Farrell’s career couldn’t be in a better position. But a romantic entanglement (Sean Young) leads to dangerous connections between Tom and a scandal so powerful, it could ruin his career.
Why Fans Of James Bond Would Like It: A Cold War thriller reminiscent of the politics of the early James Bond films, No Way Out uses a charming protagonist thrown in a plot of international intrigue to thrill potential viewers. As the central plot involving Russian and U.S. forces using operatives for their own means unfolds, Costner’s Lt. Farrell gets to engage in some very Bond-like behavior, while also serving as a grounded dramatic protagonist.
Atomic Blonde (FXNow)
What The Movie Is About: MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) finds her in a pretty interesting position in Atomic Blonde. As the Berlin Wall is about to fall, and a secret file lies hidden in the very city on the verge of history, Broughton is going to have to keep her wits about her as she fights to obtain a list of double agents sabotaging Allied operations.
Why Fans Of James Bond Would Like It: If you enjoyed Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, but wanted some more of the fighting that a modern James Bond movie would contain, Atomic Blonde has that particular need covered expertly. Theron’s Lorraine Broughton is basically the female James Bond, right down to her vices, and it’s exciting to see some off-kilter sensibilities thrown into a formula that feels very Bondian.
Where To Stream: Atomic Blonde is now available on FXNow.
Baby Driver (FXNow)
What The Movie Is About: An elite talent behind the wheel, the enigmatic young man known as Baby (Ansel Elgort) is hired only by the heist teams who absolutely need the best wheelman in all of Atlanta. But just when he’s thinking of going straight in the name of love, his old handler (Kevin Spacey) draws him in for another job. And it very well could be his last, if he’s not careful.
Why Fans Of James Bond Would Like It: Baby Driver isn’t about a spy, but rather someone pushed to the brink when they least expect it. That isn’t saying that Ansel Elgort’s Baby isn’t worthy of being spoken of in the same sentence as James Bond, but rather that writer/director Edgar Wright’s story and direction are reminiscent of Bond without giving the protagonist a pedigree in espionage or even military services. Though that more than likely amps up the excitement, as Baby has a set of skills that make him deadly in his own way.
Where To Stream: Baby Driver is currently available on FXNow.
All titles above are subject to change, so be absolutely sure to double check the availability of these films before enjoying them! As usual, this information is for your eyes only, and should you or your friends be caught with this list, the secretary will disavow all knowledge that you're not taking full advantage of Tubi's killer movie library. Good luck, and happy streaming!
CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.
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